[custom_frame_left][/custom_frame_left]For many families, summertime means vacation time. While we look forward to sightseeing or putting our toes in the sand, we may also be worrying about how much this vacation is going to cost. But vacations should be all about relaxing, not worrying about money. We’ve put together a list of 10 tips for saving money on vacation.
Wait until the last minute
If you have any flexibility in your schedule, you may want to wait until just a month or so before your trip – sometimes this trick works even days before you leave! Travel sites such as Apple Vacations or Funjet actually reduce prices (especially on all inclusive trips) the closer you get to the travel date, in order to fill spots.
Travel out of season
Most areas have peak travel seasons. For example, skiing in Colorado peaks in the winter time and the off season for beach destinations is hurricane season. If you can schedule your trip in an off season, you will save a considerable amount on airfare and hotels.
Use the power of the internet
There are hundreds of travel sites available for research about specific locations, travel deals, and travel tips. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s worth it to spend some time on the Web. Sites like hotels.com and hotwire.com provide discounts on hotels and airfare. Kayak.com compares trips and rates from hundreds of sites and finds you the best deal. You can also download apps to your smart phone or tablet that will alert you to reduced airfares or help you find the cheapest gas prices.
Don’t eat out for every meal
As tempting as it is to take a break from cooking for your whole vacation, eating out for three meals every day will quickly add up. If your vacation accommodations include a kitchen, plan to cook some of your meals there. Even if it only includes a kitchenette, you can keep some items (snacks, cereal bars for breakfast, etc.) in your room for quick meals.
Plan a Staycation
If traveling far from home just doesn’t fit in your budget this year, plan a vacation at home. You can read our post here for more staycation tips.
Check out free admission venues
Many cities offer free attractions such as events in parks, some museums, zoos, and beaches. Research the city you’re visiting and make a list before you go.
Ask friends and family
Friends and family can be your best source of information for travel tips. Learn from their mistakes and take notes of all their best secret spots. They may be able to tip you off to great restaurants where kids eat free or the hotels with the best amenities for the cheapest rates.
Research public transportation
If you’re flying to your destination, don’t rush to rent a car. If you’ll be staying in a metropolitan area, look into their public transportation – it is often reliable and convenient. If you’re not traveling to a city, check to see if your hotel has a shuttle to and from the airport or other attractions.
Sometimes hotels have great amenities – pools, continental breakfast, workout rooms, etc. Taking a breather from sightseeing will help you recharge your batteries – and get the most out of your money!
The best way to save money is to plan – do your research, look into discounts through sites like Groupon, and ask around.